This fourth edition of a standard guide (formerly called Food Lover’s Companion) revises many existing entries and expands the total number of entries to 6,700. It is essentially a dictionary of various ingredients, from herbs and spices to wines and desserts. It also includes a plethora of terms about cooking techniques. Entries are arranged in alphabetical order and vary in length from a couple of lines to a couple of pages. Each includes a definition and sometimes an explanation of the topic as well as pronunciation of the term. A 70-page appendix covers all sorts of interesting and useful information and helps make the book worthwhile just for the extras: ingredient equivalents and substitutions; high-altitude adjustments and boiling points; conversion formulas and charts; important temperature information for grilling, frying, and baking; seasoning suggestions; a food-additives directory; and several meat charts. The volume concludes with a bibliography. The entries, found between abalone and zwieback, vary from the pedestrian daily variety of food items, like coffee, flour, and spaghetti, to the rare and exotic, such as berbere (an Ethiopian spice), mojama (salt-cured tuna from southern Spain), and a Tom and Jerry (a hot drink made of beaten eggs, hot milk or water, a type of liquor like brandy or bourbon, and sugar and spices, with nutmeg sprinkled on top). The Herbsts have written several other culinary best-sellers, including Cooking Smart (Harper, 1992), The Ultimate A-to-Z Bar Guide (Broadway, 1998), and The New Wine Lover’s Companion (Barron’s, 2003), to name a few. If you don’t have this book for your collection, it is surely time to add it, as the previous edition was regarded by Bon Appétit magazine as “one of the best reference books” and “a must for every cook’s library.” At such a reasonable price, this book is a mandatory purchase for any library supporting a culinary program and is highly recommended for all other academic and public libraries. --Christy Donaldson
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Praise for previous editions.
"From 'abalone' to 'zwieback,' Sharon Tyler Herbst lists nearly 6,000 culinary terms in the newly published third edition of her classic Food Lover's Companion. Hands down, it is the ultimate accessible cooking and dining reference book."
Mat Schaffer, Boston Herald, March 2001
"The New Food Lover's Companion is an updated version of this amazingly comprehensive encyclopedia of everything you ever wondered or will need to know about culinary terms and ingredients. My old copy is more dog-eared than any favorite cookbook, and referred to almost daily...Dedicated foodies can't do without it."
Susan Miller, The Home Monthly, May 2001
"If there's a culinary reference book that foodies reach for more often than Food Lover's Companion, we don't know what it would be. This mimi-tome is brimming with useful information on thousands of foods and terms, from abalone to zwei-backincluding pronunciations (ZWI-bak, ZWI-bahk, SWI-bak, SWI-bahk). No surprise that the book has sold mor than 1 million copies since its debut in 1990...The new edition has 6,000 terms and a larger appendix. We especially like the pasta chart, which lists more than 100 pastas (with, thank goodness, pronunciations). Also added is a broadened pan substitution chart, expanded listings on soy foods, and more ethnic foods."
Renee Enna, The Chicago Times, June 2001
"If you don't have this book for your collection, it is surely time to add it, as the previous edition was regarded by Bon Appétit magazine as 'one of the best reference books' and 'a must for every cook's library.' At such a reasonable price, this book is a mandatory purchase for any library supporting a culinary program and is highly recommended for all other academic and public libraries."
Booklist, January 1 & 15, 2008
From the Associated Press article "A Book Worth Devouring"
"You, too, can be an expert, for less than 20 bucks.
Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst's Food Lover's Companion has served as an indispensable reference to the food world since the first edition was published more than a decade ago. It's a bible for food writers, and it belongs in the home kitchen, too.
An updated forth edition with more than 6,700 entries recently was released, continuing the tome's tradition of helping home and professional cooks make sense of myriad techniques and ingredients.
As valuable as the dictionary-style entries that form the core of the book are the appendices, which include a pasta glossary, a guide for reading food labels, illustrated charts depicting cuts of meat, and substitution and measurement charts."